I’ve read so many excellent books recently, I’d forgotten what it was like to read a less than mediocre book.
This was a less than mediocre book.
I had high hopes for it given the many 5* reviews of it on Goodreads. What a disappointment. Let me be clear: this is not the new ‘Hunger Games’. This isn’t even THG’s inferior cousin.
Where to start?
What caused the War? Who’s in charge? Why did things change? These are all questions that need to be answered to give a “realistic” dystopian setting. In order to make a book good, you need to feel like you’re there with the characters, picturing the world they are in and there was just not enough background to bring you into the characters’ universe in this book.
The characters. Every good adventure/thriller/novel has the main characters and then the supporting characters which you know just enough about to care about and look forward to them making a recurring appearance. This book seriously lacks in the supporting characters role. What few recurring characters there are, you don’t care about and then the other characters mentioned (Beth, Ryan who seem likeable and even interesting) are mentioned at the beginning, never to appear again.
And then the characters we do have: Ember and Chase. She is obsessed with two things: her mother and pre-soldier Chase. She will repeat her thoughts on the both of these again and again. She is a completely unsympathetic character which is not what you want as your lead heroine in this type of book. And then there’s this fact that her love/obsession with finding her mother would work better if we were actually introduced to their loving mother/daughter relationship in more depth at the beginning of the book.
And then there’s Chase. To be fair, when he makes an appearance (or rather re-appearance), that is when the book becomes moderately interesting rather than dull but as a character? So-so. It takes a fair chunk of the book before you get to see what’s really going on in that head of his.
Which brings me to the Chase/Ember relationship. Don’t get me wrong, every good novel needs a romance but one minute Ember loves him then she hates him, she wants him to protect her then she wants to run away from him. Repeatedly. Has anyone actually reached the end of the book still caring about these two?!
And then the plot itself? It consists of one mildly interesting trek across routed America where it is important that the characters remember not to trust anyone, something which Ember repeatedly forgets and a few forays into prison-type institutions.
Let’s just say, this is one series where I won’t feel compelled to read more of.
If I could, I would give this book 1.5* but as it is, it’s a harsh 1* to reflect my disappointment.